- BLUE marks the culmination of Mitchell's early, traditional singer/songwriter period, and it is one of the very best albums of that genre. Though she was already beginning to experiment with elements of pop and jazz, BLUE focuses on Mitchell's skill as a folk singer, showcasing her reedy, expressive voice in duet with her piano or guitar. The arrangements on the album--which feature keys, dulcimer, bass, and assorted percussion--are spare and tasteful, so much so that it is easy to overlook their sophistication.
- Yet it is ultimately Mitchell's songs that make BLUE such a moving and memorable experience. "All I Want" establishes the themes of wandering and soul-searching that define much of the artist's work, while "My Old Man" and "Carey" explore relationships with a keen attention to detail and emotional truth. Songs like "California" shuffle along with a sunny yearning, but the predominant mood--true to the album's title--is lonely, plaintive and stark, with "River," the title track, and "The Last Time I Saw Richard" ranking with the saddest, most moving songs in the pop canon. An album of great intensity and confessional depth, BLUE closed the chapter on Mitchell's folk period beautifully, opening the gates for the bold new work to follow.
Rolling Stone (10/31/02, p.135) - Ranked #2 in Rolling Stone's "Women In Rock: The 50 Essential Albums" - "...An acoustic tour de force..."
Rolling Stone (8/5/71, p.43) - "...her songs, like James Taylor's, are only incidentally commercial: Her primary purpose is to create something meaningful out of the random moments of pain and pleasure in her life..."
Rolling Stone (9/30/71, p.42) - "...She writes beautiful tunes coupled with beautiful lyrics...what more could be asked of her? BLUE is her best album by far..."
Q (7/99, p.150) - Included in Q's Best Chill-Out Albums of All Time - "...tangible warmth....A solitary album, which conversely makes the listner feel less alone..."
Q (p.132) - 4 stars out of 5 - "The gold standard for the confessional school of '70s songwriters in one beguiling package."
Vibe (12/99, p.157) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century
NME (Magazine) (10/2/93, p.29) - Ranked #28 in NME's list of the Greatest Albums Of All Time.
NME (Magazine) (9/18/93, p.19) - Ranked #9 in NME's list of The Greatest Albums Of The '70s.